Distracted Driving

Distracted-Driving-Image

At any daylight moment there are 660,000 drivers in the United States using a cell phone or electronic device, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All of these distracted drivers pose a threat to every motorist, cyclist and pedestrian they share the road with in West Virginia and throughout the country.

Distracted driving is dangerous and has become a major public health problem. In 2011 alone, more than 3,300 people were killed and 387,000 injured in crashes attributed to distracted driving, according to NHTSA.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a distracted driver, the experienced car accident lawyers at the Underwood Law Office can help. We are ready to help you through the disruption and anxiety that follow a car accident caused by a distracted driver. We have the knowledge and hard-won experience to handle any motor vehicle accident case, no matter how complicated.

Find out today how Underwood Law Office can help you.

Distracted Driving Causes Car Accidents in West Virginia

According to Distraction.gov:

  • 18 percent of all car accidents in the United States that resulted in injury in 2010 occurred because a driver was distracted.
  • Drivers who use a handheld device while behind the wheel are four times as likely to be involved in a car wreck that causes injury.
  • People who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a car accident.
  • Drivers who send or read a text message or email while driving look away from the road for 4.6 seconds on average. At 55 mph, a car could go the full length of a football field with the driver's eyes off of the road.
  • A driver who is using a cell phone devotes 37 percent less brain activity to driving than someone who is actually paying attention to the road.

While most drivers know the dangers, many choose to send and receive texts or use a cell phone anyway. The CDC reported that 69 percent of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 said in a survey that they had talked on a cell phone while driving in the past 30 days. Another 31 percent of drivers said that they had sent or received a text or email message while driving during the previous 30 days.

Types of Distracted Driving

Texting and cell phone use are a primary focus when it comes to distracted driving. This is because so many drivers use their phones in a dangerous way, resulting in serious car accidents. However, they are not the only cause of distracted driving accidents.

Distraction.gov also identified several other behaviors that can lead to a distracted driving crash, such as:

  • Eating, drinking or smoking
  • Talking with passengers or tending to children
  • Watching a video
  • Grooming (brushing hair, shaving, applying makeup, etc.)
  • Reading a map or other written materials
  • Using a GPS navigation system
  • Adjusting an iPod, radio or CD player
  • Adjusting other in-car controls, such as the air conditioner

Simple daydreaming can also cause a distracted driving crash. According to Bloomberg, a study of more than 65,000 car accidents from 2011 and 2012 found that as many as 62 percent of distracted driving accidents were reportedly caused by drivers who were "lost in thought."

West Virginia's Laws against Distracted Driving

Texting while driving is a primary offense in West Virginia. This means that police can pull a driver over just for texting while driving even if the driver was not breaking any other traffic laws. Cell phone use without a hands-free device is also prohibited, but it is a secondary offense until July 2013. This means that a driver can be ticketed for using a cell phone but cannot be pulled over unless the driver has broken some other traffic law. Talking on a handheld device will become a primary offense in July 2013.

West Virginia also applies tougher rules to certain categories of drivers. For example, teenagers who have either learner's permits or intermediate licenses are not permitted to use any type of wireless communication device while driving and can be pulled over for it even if they were not breaking any other traffic laws. School bus drivers are also prohibited from using cell phones when they are operating a bus.

Unfortunately, not all drivers obey these laws.

Hurt by a distracted driver in West Virginia? We can help.

Taking legal action after a distracted driving crash can be a stressful experience, especially as you cope with medical problems, lost income and mounting bills. The experienced West Virginia car accident lawyers at the Underwood Law Offices are here to help you. We'll advocate for you and manage every aspect of your claim so you can focus on your health and recovery while resting assured that your rights are protected.

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a distracted driver, our attorneys want to help you recover the maximum compensation available under West Virginia law. You can reach the Underwood Law Office by calling 304-209-4387, or simply fill out our online contact form. We'll schedule a confidential, free consultation to talk about your case and advise you about your legal rights.

Sources:

  • NHTSA - NHTSA Survey Finds 660,000 Drivers Using Cell Phones or Manipulating Electronic Devices While Driving At Any Given Daylight Moment
  • Distraction.gov - Key Facts and Statistics
  • CDC - Distracted Driving
  • Bloomberg - Phone Use Trails 'Lost in Thought' in Fatal Car Crashes
  • Verizon Wireless - "It's Up To You" - Commitment to Safer Communities